Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit issues in Canada Info

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In Indigenous Writes, Chelsea Vowel initiates myriad
conversations about the relationship between Indigenous peoples and
Canada. An advocate for Indigenous worldviews, the author discusses the
fundamental issues?the terminology of relationships; culture and
identity; myth-busting; state violence; and land, learning, law and
treaties?along with wider social beliefs about these issues. She answers
the questions that many people have on these topics to spark further
conversations at home, in the classroom, and in the larger
community.

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Reviews for Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit issues in Canada:

5

April 10, 2017

Sparking Necessary Conversations
Indigenous Writes: A guide to First Nations, Metis and Inuit issues in Canada belongs in every bookshelf on Turtle Island. As an Indigenous person who was born and raised in the U.S., I knew the headlines about Indigenous peoples in Canada. However, this book changed all of that. Because Vowel writes informatively I was able to understand policies and legislation at more than an introductory level. Her experiences as an educator, lawyer, and activist come through in this book. She is here for honesty, love, and truth.
Vowel is able to describe succinctly the experiences of Indigenous peoples in the Canadian nation state. The book is comprised of 31 essays divided into 5 parts: the terminology of relationships, culture and identity, myth-busting, state violence, and land, learning, law, and treaties. Each chapter can stand alone as individual pieces, but I guarantee you will not want to stop reading. Also, Vowel provides a reference list at the end of each chapter, allowing the reader to delve deeper into specific issues. The amount of work Vowel put into the transparency of this book shows her readers she has nothing to hide.
Vowel speaks directly to her audience and the conversational tone makes it easy to understand. She does not shy aware from counterpoints; she simply addresses them and moves on. For example, she addresses cultural appropriation by highlighting the reasons non-Indigenous folks give for appropriation and asks them to stop acting like they care if they do not. She continues with explanations of what is sacred to many Indigenous folks on Turtle Island and suggests celebration instead of appropriation. Also noteworthy is the sense of humor Vowel brings to this piece. It feels like a conversation over great food at a gathering rather than a heavy textbook trying to force you into submission.
My understanding of settler colonialism was expanded during the reading of this book. I understood settlers were here for Indigenous lands, but I had not made the connections to the modernity of settler colonialism. I had not connected it to residential schooling, the Indian Act, status vs. non-status, or permits and passes. Vowel connected the systems and has changed the way I read Indigenous issues because it is never just one issue. My favorite part is Vowel’s use of her Indigenous language throughout the book showcasing one of her strategies to fight colonialism through her words.
Finally, even though Vowel is writing about issues occurring in Canada, the experiences are transferable to Indigenous peoples in the U.S. We have also have dealt and are dealing with residential schooling, filthy drinking water, blood-quantum politics, and self-determination just to name a few. This is a book for more than educators, it is a book for communities and families. Vowel’s work will spark the hard-to-have conversations that are necessary in addressing settler colonialism.
5

December 13, 2016

Excellent resource
Such an accessible, smart, conversational book. It's genuinely provocative--meant not as a code word, but as a description of the way the author asks the reader questions. The book is a solidly-researched and reflexively composed academic resource, but it can really benefit a general interest readership. All of us who are not Indigenous who have the need to know and who learn from books can get a better grounding in the issues, legacies, and ongoing concerns of First Nations peoples from this book. The introductory chapters on naming, the chapters on myth-busting, and the engagement with state violence and law (which is all too often a way of institutionalizing state violence and too rarely a way of redressing it) are especially tight. One of the best things about the book is its extensive acknowledgment of scholarship by Indigenous knowledge workers, now and in existing publications. The references throughout the book will point you in constructive directions.
5

October 18, 2017

but even with no context for what the various Treaties mean I came away from the book feeling like I just completed a college course with a cool ...
The absolute primer to learn about Indigenous Issues in Canada. As a U.S. citizen I was taught nothing in school about how Canada treats Indigenous people, but even with no context for what the various Treaties mean I came away from the book feeling like I just completed a college course with a cool professor. Canadian context is very different from U.S. in a lot of ways, though unfortunately discrimination, stereotypes and broken promises and abuses by the state, provincial and federal governments all seem universal to the Indigenous experience in North America.

This book should be required reading.

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